China, Australia top 'carbon bomb' ranking

Jan. 22, 2013 at 1:39 PM
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BEIJING, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- China and Australia rank the highest among 14 planned oil, natural gas and coal projects that would increase global greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent, a Greenpeace report claims.

"The Point of No Return" report, released Tuesday, says fossil fuels from the 14 projects in different parts of the world and which are at varying stages of planning and approval would produce a total of 6.3 gigatons of carbon a year in 2020, equal to what the United States emits annually.

"Burning the coal, oil and gas from these 14 projects would significantly push emissions over what climate scientists have identified as the 'carbon budget,' the amount of additional CO2 that must not be exceeded if we are to keep climate change from spiraling out of control,'' states the Greenpeace report, which was based on analysis by British sustainability consultancy Ecofys.

The report is available at

"The fossil fuel industry is diversifying and finding new ways to extract resources, often in toxic and dangerous ways," said Georgina Woods, lead campaigner for Greenpeace Australia, The Guardian newspaper reports.

The report ranks the planned 20 percent expansion of China's coal mining and production operations in five northwestern provinces as the "biggest dirty-energy project on the planet."

If the Chinese projects go ahead, Greenpeace says, they would emit 1,400 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere or more than double the amount of Germany's total emissions in 2010.

China is the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide, with 80 percent of those emissions coming from the burning of coal, which supplies 70 percent of the country's energy needs.

Ranking as second in the Greenpeace report is the Australian mining industry's "dirty plan" to more than double its coal exports in a little over 10 years, which Greenpeace says would add an additional 900 million tons of carbon a year to the atmosphere.

"Burning Australian coal does not just affect Australia's contribution to global emissions since the emissions are 'exported' to the countries using the coal," the report states.

Australia's coal sector argues that limiting the country's coal exports wouldn't reduce emissions, because other countries would supply the coal and thus global coal use would not be reduced.

The Minerals Council of Australia Chief Executive Mitch Hooke told The Sydney Morning Herald that reducing exports "will just send Australian jobs offshore and deprive state and federal governments of billions in revenue."

The 14 resource projects in the report include arctic drilling for oil and gas, exports of U.S. coal and Canadian tar sands oil.

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